PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bryan Rust flipped a backhander past Tuukka Rask 1:24 into overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.
Racing down the slot, Rust took a swipe at Evgeni Malkin’s centering pass and the puck fluttered by Rask to give the Penguins their seventh straight victory. Conor Sheary, Nick Bonino and Justin Schultz also scored for Pittsburgh. Matt Murray stopped 41 of the 44 shots he faced to improve to 10-0-1 in his last 11 home starts.
Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh improved to 20-7-3 to take the overall NHL lead with 43 points.
David Pastrnak picked up his 19th goal for the Bruins. Brad Marchand and David Krejci also scored for the Bruins. Rask played spectacularly at times and finished with 33 saves.
The Penguins have hit their stride in December, and were coming off a 7-0 romp over Arizona on Monday night. Yet for all of his team’s considerable firepower, coach Mike Sullivan stressed he was more impressed by his team’s effort on the other end of the ice in front of Matt Murray.
The Bruins, however, have typically found a way to hold the Penguins in check. Boston came in 7-0-1 in their last eight against Pittsburgh, with its last regulation loss to Pittsburgh more than three years ago.
Marchand gave the Bruins the lead 10:48 into the first with a wrist shot the banked off Murray’s left pad and slipped between the goaltenders legs. Schultz responded just over two minutes later, taking a pretty cross-ice feed from Sidney Crosby then gliding through the slot before ripping a shot over Rask’s blocker.
Boston’s lackluster power play had a chance to break it open later in the period during an extended 5-on-3 but Pittsburgh’s beleaguered penalty kill — which began the night ranked 27th in the league — kept the Bruins at bay. Boston went back in front when Krejci collected a rebound in front of Murray and kicked the puck to his stick for his fifth goal of the season 6:40 into the second period. Again it didn’t take the Penguins long to tie it, with Bonino’s shot from the top of the left circle knotting it at 2 just before the game’s midway point.
Sheary put the Penguins up 3-2 with his career-high eighth goal, a nifty redirect of a shot by Brian Dumoulin but Pastrnak jumped on a loose puck behind the Pittsburgh net, darted in front around a sprawled Murray then slipped the puck between the legs of a scrambling Bonino. Rask stoned Sheary on a breakaway with 54 seconds remaining to salvage a point for the Bruins before Rust prevailed in overtime.
NOTES: The Bruins went 0 for 4 on the power play. The Penguins were 2 for 4 with the man advantage and have seven power play goals in their last three games. … Boston D Zdeno Chara played in his 1,300th game, becoming the 60th player in NHL history to reach that plateau. … The Bruins scratched D Colin Miller and Joe Morrow and C Danton Heinen. … Pittsburgh scratched F Eric Fehr and D Steve Oleksy.
Boston: Return home to face Anaheim.
Pittsburgh: Wrap up a three-game homestand Friday night against the Los Angeles Kings. Los Angeles beat the Penguins in a shootout on Nov. 3.